By Cassie Cleverly —
The need for world peace is an issue on which almost everyone agrees, but we rarely get to feel like we are really contributing to peace-building efforts. Hosting a pair of teens from Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) is an opportunity to participate in creating peace at the level of everyday life while simultaneously widening your international horizons.
Cyprus, located in the eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, north of Egypt and west of Syria, has been divided by a patrolled UN buffer zone since 1974, with Turkish-speaking Muslims on the north and Greek-speaking Christians on the south. CFP works to bridge the divided communities by building friendships amongst the teens from both sides of the divide. This residential component of the year-long program is essential in sealing the bonds of friendship. Teens return to Cyprus as living proof that they can get along in everyday life.
To say the least, hosting has been an eye-opening, enriching experience for our family. And it truly couldn’t be easier. As a host, you need to provide a safe, neutral home with one bedroom in which two teens can sleep for either two or four weeks in the month of July. Last year, two pairs, all of them fluent in English, stayed in Dublin and were thrilled to hang out at the lake and hike the local trails. Not a week goes by when we are not in contact with one of the four boys, who are all still very much in contact with each other and still working to promote CFP.
If you are interested in learning more about Cyprus, CFP, and hosting, please visit our website, www.cyprusfriendship.org, or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 563-7046.
Cassie Cleverly is Executive Director of the Cyprus Friendship Program.